The False Memory Syndrome Foundation

Since the inception of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) there has been  a lot of misinformation, lies, and disinformation to discredit it and its Professional Advisory Board; keeping up with all the ridiculous articles and other publications would be a full-time job.

I am offering and challenging you to read the facts about the Foundation that has been in the eye of the memory debate storm for several decades.

Perhaps gaining insight and accurate information will help people understand who these people are and what their mission is.

From the False Memory Syndrome Foundation website: www.fmsfonline.org

Where is the FMS Foundation?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

PO Box 30044 • Philadelphia, PA 19103 • Telephone (215) 940-1040

Who runs the FMS Foundation?

The Executive Director, Pamela Freyd, oversees the Foundation’s programs and the fiscal and day-to-day operations of the Foundation. The Foundation’s seven Directors set policy during quarterly meetings. The Scientific and Professional Advisory Board is composed of prominent researchers and clinicians from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, law, and education. This Board advises on issues of memory, therapy and research. It also helps set future direction for the organization.

How is the Foundation financed?

The Foundation is funded by membership dues and contributions from families and friends. Dues constitute less than half the income. Because the FMS Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) institution, contributions are tax deductible. Several small foundation grants have been used to support professional advisory board seminars and three major conferences. The Foundation’s staff is small, and the organization could not exist without volunteers who devote significant time and effort. A financial report is available in the FMSF office.

What are the goals of the FMS Foundation?

  • to seek the reasons for the spread of FMS that is so devastating families,
  • to work for ways to prevent it
  • to aid those who were affected by it and to bring their families into reconciliation.

History of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation

A group of families and professionals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore created the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in 1992 because they saw a need for an organization that could document and study the problem of families that were being shattered when adult children suddenly claimed to have recovered repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Across the country, parents had been reporting that they had received phone calls and letters accusing them of committing horrifying acts that allegedly had happened decades earlier. The following letter is typical of many:

 Dear First Name and Last Name,

Why am I writing this letter: To state the truth — Dad I remember just about everything you did to me. Whether you remember it or not is immaterial-what’s important is I remember. I had this experience the other day of regressing until I was a child just barely verbal. I was screaming and crying and absolutely hysterical. I was afraid that you were going to come and get me and torture me. That is what sexual abuse is to a child-the worst torture… I needed your protection, guidance and understanding. Instead I got hatred, violation, humiliation and abuse.. I don’t have to forgive you… I no longer give you the honor of being my father.
“C”

The same father had previously received letters such as the following:

Mom and Dad,

Hi! Just thought I would drop you a line to say hi! I have been so busy lately I have forgotten to tell you guys how much I love you. You two have done so much for me… You have continually supported me, loved me, and helped me work through my various problems and adventures… I just wanted you guys to know that you are appreciated. I seldom tell you how much you guys mean to me… I love you more than words can say.
Love “C”

What had happened in these families and in the lives of the now-adult children that resulted in such terrible alienation?

Why did the families get together?

The parents, many in their 70s and 80s, came together out of a need for mutual support — to help each other cope with the awful pain of the loss of their children and the trauma of being falsely accused of incest, and to try to find out what was happening to their children — just as parents of Downs syndrome children or parents of children with sickle cell anemia or parents of children who had joined cults have come together for mutual support. They shared information and articles trying to figure out what had happened.

An accusation of sexual abuse creates a stigma that probably lasts forever. In November of 1995, Dateline asked 502 adults, “If someone has been charged and acquitted in a child abuse case, would you still be suspicious of them?” Poll results showed that 12% were not sure, 11% said no, an acquittal would remove all suspicions, and an overwhelming majority, 77% said yes, they would still be suspicious, even if the suspect was cleared. When a therapist makes a diagnosis of incest based on a “recovered memory,” he or she gives a lifetime sentence to the accused. In the book, Spectral Evidence, Johnston describes Gary Ramona’s realization of what had happened to his life.

“One day it all came home to him. Even if his lawsuit were to clear his name, his life had been stripped of its boundless potential. ‘There’s no way I could ever run for public office, even if I had the desire. There was no way I could get a major corporation, who in the past were hungry to have me take a look. Do you think any of them are going to make me president or put me in a high position?’ He could never do community work if it involved children, ever. His reputation was destroyed.” Johnston, 1997 (page 181)

The accusations are devastating to the families. Cardinal Bernadin, who was accused of abusing a young man many years ago, spoke movingly of the fact that the accusation was worse for him than the cancer that eventually brought about his death. He expressed that sentiment even after the accusation had been retracted. Most families express similar reactions, but for the families there is something that is far worse than the accusation: losing a child.

The effects are difficult to quantify. One mother pulled down all the shades in the house and did not leave it for three months as she grieved after her husband received the accusation from their daughter. It was only after hearing something about FMSF on television and learning that she was not the only person to whom this had that she opened the shades. In those families in which legal actions have been brought, some have lost their homes and life savings. Just the fear of legal action has seemingly paralyzed many others who describe their lives as “walking on eggshells,” trying not to do anything that will bring the accuser to take the feared action. Accused families sometimes attribute deaths and poor health to the accusations. Given the fact that either the loss of a child or an accusation of abuse can be a significant stressor, this belief may not be surprising and may have some truth to it. Following are examples of comments from families.

One daughter of two has resumed contact but it is not the same. The destruction of our family surely has taken twenty years off our lives.
A Mom and Dad

My husband died last January after having suffered a massive stroke. He and I began to have high blood pressure at about the time of our daughter’s accusations. This stress had been going on for several years and we’d both been put on medication for that condition. He was depressed. He sighed and said, “Well I guess there’s nothing more I can do.” Our daughter had returned his last letter to her unopened, writing on the envelope, “Unacceptable mail; return to sender.”

There is no doubt in my mind that the stress he had suffered from her false accusations was at least partially responsible for his untimely death. He was a vigorous, healthy, sixty-six year old man. Now I am trying to cope with the loss of my dear, loving husband of almost 46 years while, at the same time, struggling to overcome the bitterness I feel toward my daughter and her therapists. The tragedy of this almost overwhelms me. In my opinion, the therapists who are promoting these false memories are guilty of murder.
A Widow

How did the families get together?

Although the FMS Foundation was incorporated in Philadelphia, families in other locations had also started joining together. The Philadelphia parents had learned about each other largely because of an article by Darrell Sifford in the late fall of 1991 that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer. This article related the story of parents who were in the nuclear founding group of FMSF who believed that their accusing daughter had been misled into her abuse beliefs. Many people responded to Harold Lief, MD. and to Mr. Sifford, who died in 1992. Sifford concluded that the topic of recovered repressed memories was the “big bang” of therapy in the 90s. He intended to write a series of articles around the topic of accusations of abuse arising from recovered repressed memories, and he suggested to the families who had contacted him that they establish a place where other families could get information. The response to his column demonstrated a need for an organization to help families.

The Sifford column was sent around the country by people in Philadelphia who knew of friends or family that had experienced the same thing. Those families contacted Sifford who in turn put them in touch with Philadelphia families.

As the families were getting together in Philadelphia, a group of families and former patients in Dallas was also getting together. The Dallas families and former patients found each other through Glenna Whitley’s article “Abuse of Trust” in “D” Magazine (January 1992). This story about a patient who had come to believe she was part of an intergenerational satanic cult generated responses from former patients from the same hospital and parents with the same problem.

The Philadelphia group learned about the Dallas group from Hollida Wakefield, M.A. and Ralph Underwager, Ph.D. at the Institute for Psychological Therapies in Northfield, Minnesota, authors of “Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse” (1988). A number of families contacted them because of the book and, at their request, were put in touch with each other. This writer went to Dallas to meet the families and to attend a seminar that they had organized.

At the same time, a group of nine families in the Midwest had also found each other though the now defunct Cult Awareness Network. Underwager and Wakefield also put them in touch with the Philadelphia group. Roger and Liz LaPlant, from Illinois, had been organizing a meeting to be held in Benton Harbor, Michigan. By the time of that meeting on April 25, 1992, the Foundation had been formed. The first national FMSF family meeting attracted families from coast to coast.

In other countries, families also came together. In Canada, P. T., Ph.D. contacted Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. in the fall of 1991. Dr. Loftus put her in touch with this writer. In May, 1992, the “Toronto Star” published a series of three articles written by Bill Taylor. The first meeting of Canadian families attended by more than a hundred people followed shortly afterwards. Eventually, close to 2,000 Canadian families contacted the Foundation.

From England, Roger Scotford in late 1992 contacted professor John Money, M.D. at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions to find out if he had ever heard of adult children cutting off all contact with parents after claiming to have recovered repressed memories of childhood abuse. Dr. Money, who had heard about the FMSF, put Mr. Scotford in touch with this writer, who in turn put Mr. Scotford in contact with several other affected families in the UK. Scotford came to Philadelphia for the first FMSF professional conference in April 1993 and then began to organize families in the UK. He set up a group called Adult Children Accusing Parents, which became a registered charity in September 1994, called the British False Memory Society. (See the website of the BFMS: www.bfms.org.uk)

In New Zealand, Felicity Goodyear-Smith, M.D. was unaware of the FMSF when she published “First Do No Harm” in 1993. In September 1993, when her book was still in press, she learned about the FMSF from professor Dennis Dutton, head of the NZ Skeptics. Dr. Goodyear-Smith contacted the FMSF and began to receive newsletters. In her book she had included a section about memories recalled under counseling and hypnosis. Once the book appeared, she was immediately innundated with calls and letters from affected families and formed a support group for them in February 1994. (Casualties of Sexual Allegations or COSA) COSA developed into a national organization publishing monthly newsletters. (The website is www.menz.org.nz/cosa.htm.)

Some families in Australia read a New Zealand newspaper article by Camille Guy published in October 1993. The article included interviews with some of the families who had contacted Dr. Goodyear-Smith. The Australian families quickly made contact with the FMSF and came to visit before starting their own organization. And so it has been with families in Netherlands, Sweden, Israel and other places to which the recovered-memory beliefs had spread. Families in shock from the loss of their children, in fear and shame because of the accusations and in confusion about what had happened, came together to try to help each other and to find ways to reach their children.

How did the name get chosen?

Selecting a name for the organization was difficult. Because many of the accusers claimed that they were suffering from “repressed memory syndrome,” and since the parents were convinced that what their children thought were memories were really incorrect beliefs, the term “false memory” seemed appropriate. The parents described their children as being totally consumed by their new beliefs.

“When the memory is distorted, or confabulated, the result can be what has been called the False Memory Syndrome; a condition in which a person’s identity and interpersonal relationships are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes. Note that the syndrome is not characterized by false memories as such. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Rather, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individual’s entire personality and lifestyle, in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behaviors. The analogy to personality disorder is intentional. False memory syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory. Thus it takes on a life of its own, encapsulated, and resistant to correction. The person may become so focused on the memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with the real problems in his or her life.”
John Kihlstrom

In fact, the term “false memories” was not new and had been in the literature since the turn of the century. It was mentioned by Karl Jaspers (1963, p.76), for example. Although the term “syndrome” is most commonly used in association with the medical model of psychopathology, there are many other uses of the term (Kihlstrom, 1994). A syndrome is a set of symptoms that occur together. The patterns of symptoms in the radically changed behavior of the accusers seemed to indicate that the phenomenon was a syndrome, probably of social origin such as folie à deux (Merskey, June 1995, FMSF Newsletter, “What is a Syndrome?”). Thus the name of the organization was chosen.

The name has been a point of much contention. In addition to Dr. Merskey’s “Is FMS a Syndrome?,” Campbell Perry, Ph.D. has also addressed this issue:

Is FMS a syndrome? Some critics of FMS maintain that FMS is not a syndrome for such reasons as that nobody would lie about being sexually molested during childhood (although the issue is confabulation, not lying), or that it has not been cited in DSM-IV, although MPD/DID was being diagnosed for 170 years prior to being included in DSM-III in 1980. (Some would argue, of course, that this acceptance by DSM-III in 1980 was the ultimate disaster for this particular diagnosis, since it led to an enormous increase in the incidence of this diagnosis). These critics argue that a syndrome is “a pattern of symptoms that characterize a particular disorder or disease” (English & English, 1966, p. 540). English and English emphasize that any single symptom may be found in other disorders or diseases, and that it is the pattern, or combination, that differentiates.This, indeed, is how a syndrome is ordinarily defined; English and English, however, discuss an alternative definition of syndrome as “a set of behaviors believed to have a common cause or bias” (p. 540). They maintain that this is a loose meaning of the term, especially if the syndrome is viewed in terms of the process that led to the memory report, rather than the symptoms that a person develops. The report of how false memories are created in a therapy that is distinct in its assumptions (all human psychic dysfunctions are the product of repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse), and procedures (staging an angry confrontation with the putative abuser; the advocacy of hatred as a healing method) led Perry and Gold (1995) to conclude that FMS is a syndrome in this latter sense, defined by English and English.

Merskey (1995), however, argues for FMS being a syndrome in the first, more traditional sense. He sums up his position by stating that the phenomena of FMS “frequently include a person with a problem, a set of ideas for which there is no independent evidence, complaints based upon so-called recovered memories, and the propagation of hate and hostility” (p. 6). Regardless of which position one takes on this syndrome issue, it is certainly true, as Merskey concludes, that the “FMS Foundation has identified a peculiarly nasty syndrome” (p. 6).

The concept of false memories is not new to the therapeutic community, and the issues surrounding false memories of incest are at least as old as Freud. Unfortunately, the issue of false memories has also divided the therapy community as few topics have. Professional organizations, however, are now addressing these issues. Statements about false memories have been published by the major mental health organizations in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. Some dictionaries now include false memory syndrome as an entry; for example

  • FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME: a psychological condition in which a person remembers events that have not actually occurred. (Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, Special Second Edition, 1996, Addenda)
  • FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME: a situation in which examination, therapy or hypnosis has elicited apparent memories, especially of childhood abuse, that are disputed by family members and are often traumatic to the patient. (Encarta Dictionary, 1999, published by St. Martins, owned by Microsoft)

What did the Foundation do?

So much has changed since the False Memory Syndrome Foundation was formed in March of 1992 that it is sometimes difficult to remember the solid wall of disbelief and hostility that families faced when they said they had been falsely accused. Not only has the term “false memories” become embedded in our language, but the topic of false memories has also been the focus of many scholarly articles and books as well as of intense interest in the popular media. The FMS Foundation has played a role as a clearinghouse of information and as a catalyst for discussion and research about the specific claims that have formed the basis of the debate in the areas of memory, social influence and therapeutic practice.

Retrieved 4/15/11. with permission from Dr. Pamela Freyd, Executive Director www.fmsmonline.org

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Psychiatric Nonsense at Noon: “FMSwordF”

My, my, my, I have a rather humorous comment to report on today. If only the commenter, Christopher, read the article below and was outraged that a mental health facility was accumulating medical malpractice suits instead of coining stupid acronyms and failing at insulting me, perhaps a dialogue would have started. Instead, I am dealing rather humorously with Christopher’s lack of education and moral fortitude.

Christopher commented to my post entitled: Treatment Facility, Mercy Ministries: Harm Continues to Women Patients? The post was to update readers that there is a 4th medical malpractice suit filed against this organization and those who run it. But I digress.

Christopher came to this blog intending to be obnoxious and condescending to me, but instead only managed to tickle my funny bone. Christopher didn’t mean to be humorous, but heck, when something’s funny, I’m gonna laugh – and share.

Uneducated and vindictive commenters like Christopher seem like disgruntled pseudo-survivors who are more interested in attacking me instead of the issues I report on. Choosing to demean me (which never works) rather than discussing what is going on at Mercy Ministries 4th medical malpractice suit is pathetic and glaringly shows that pseudo-survivors are not interested in safe and effective mental health care.

Back to Christopher. Trying  to coin a new phrase instead of working to make mental-health care safe and affordable – while simultaneously thinking my heart will break at personal insults, is deplorable. But heck, you have to give ’em “The Psychiatric Nonsense at Noon Brown-Banana Award” for trying. Christopher’s new phrase is: FMSwordF.  Mean anything to you? Of course not. I, on the other hand, am an accomplished fencer with real swords resting here and there around the house, so what I saw was the word “sword” smack dag in the middle of FMSwordF.  Nah, I told myself, this isn’t a cute fencing term so I read on.

Christopher came here intending to trash the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), but didn’t want to write out the full acronym of the organization because s/he claims there is no such “thing” as false memory syndrome. OK, fine with me if Christopher wants to make a point (I’d be careful though because there are real swords about 6 feet from where I’m sitting and they have real points) but I digress. FMS is a well established term meaning “false memory syndrome” used to describe remembering an event that, in reality, never occurred. It’s been used for decades. Most people familiar with the term FMS know it is not a syndrome per se but that didn’t prevent Christopher from trying one more time – to make a lame point.

Well, well, well. What did Christopher accomplish with the FMSwordF mumbo-jumbo-nonsense besides winning a blog post dedicated to the absurdity they spouted?

The post, see below, is about the harm sustained by patients at this particular facility. Hey Christopher, what do you think about Mercy Ministries?

Article here

Comment below:

Christopher’s comment: Submitted on 2014/11/10 at 12:03 PM

“It is evident that your inability to harmonize and process your own past experiences is what drives this very bizarre conspiracy theory-driven vendetta against those with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Your personal experience is not a valid foundation on which to launch projections onto the different and individual experiences of others. Perhaps you ought find a more productive pasttime [sic]than passing your days seeking to unearth further means of discrediting and undermining a group of people you are openly and admittedly not a part of.

I will also point out that the vast majority of your “supporters” are emotionally-lax women who openly profess issues with their purportedly dissociative mother; hardly an objective point of reference. Best of luck sorting yourself out.”

“`

p.s. Christopher, dear, what is “emotionaly-lax women”? Harmonize and process? Does that have something to do with digesting my brown bag lunch? What is “purportedly dissociative mother”. What does offering me “luck sorting yourself out” mean? I have supporters? Wow, thanks for the kudos!

You can count on me Always being here to report on mental health practices that harm, or have the potential to harm, patients and their families. Just one of those irritating facts of life

If you want to know who the blogger is behind the hilarious “FMswordF Brown Bag Brown Banana Award , good luck. I was banned from a comment immediately. So, dear public, if you have a cause to take up, surely this one led by a nameless person telling you nothing about it, toss your money out the window – where I can catch it on the way down.

Cheers!

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Psychiatric Nonsense at Noon: “FMSwordF” by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.
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Satanic Ritual Abuse Calendar of Events for Dissociative Identity Disorder Patients

Spoiler Alert! The information below is ridiculous and has no business in a psychotherapy room where women are allegedly being treated for multiple personalities.

During my treatment to recall childhood sexual abuse that eventually proved to have never happened, I was coerced into believing I was raised in a satanic cult. My former doctor gave me a satanic calendar similar to the one below but it was more detailed and had many more events scheduled throughout the year. This one lists dates of interest by month and day and states the reason for the celebration or “fear” inducing events that are meant to occur.

This is not only questionable information, but a psychiatrist has no business giving this to a vulnerable patient – or any patient for that matter, IMO.

After receiving a satanic calendar, I became more frantic – especially before the dates listed. The document was the doctor’s way of proving that satanic ritual abuse (SRA) is real and that he would protect me from the evil villains – which by the way, never surfaced. Nonetheless, he admitted me to the hospital and kept me sequestered until the holiday passed.

~ From the 1st National Con­fer­ence on Cult & Rit­ual Abuse Boston, MA, June 1991 ~

Date Cel­e­bra­tion Usage Age
Jan 7 St. Winebald Ani­mal or human (dismemberment) 15–33
M if human
Jan 17 *Satanic Revel Oral, anal, vagi­nal activity 7–17 F
Feb 2 *Satanic Revel Oral, anal, vagi­nal activity 7–17 F
Feb 25 St. Walpur­gis Day Com­mu­nion w/animal blood & dismemberment Ani­mal
Mar 1 St. Enoch Drink­ing of blood for strength & bondage to demons Any age
Mar 20 **Feast Day
(Spring Equinox)
Oral, anal, vaginal Any age M or F
April 21–26 Prepa­ra­tion for sacrifice
Apr 26 –May 1 *Grand Cli­max Cor­pus de Baahl Ages 1–25 F
June 1 **Feast Day
(Sum­mer Soltice)
Oral, anal, vaginal Any age M or F
July 1 Demon Rev­els Druids sex­ual asso­ci­a­tion w/demons Any age F
Aug 1 *Satanic Rev­els Oral, anal, vaginal 7–17 F
Sept 7 Mar­riage to Beast Satan Sac­ri­fices, Dismemberment Infant-21 F
Sept 20 Mid­night Host Dis­mem­ber­ment bonds placed Infant-21 F
Sept 22 **Feast Day
(Fall Equinox)
Oral, anal, vaginal Any age, M or F, Ani­mal or Human
Oct 29 –Nov 1 *All Hal­lows Eve
(Halloween)
Sex­ual cli­max, asso­ci­a­tion w/demons Any age M or F
Nov 4 Satanic Rev­els Oral, anal, vaginal 7–17 F
Dec 22 **Feast Day
(Win­ter Solstice)
Oral, anal, vaginal Any age, M or F, Ani­mal or Human
Dec 24 Demon Revel High Grand Climax Any age M or F

*Sig­ni­fies most impor­tant hol­i­days
**Sig­ni­fies hol­i­days of lesser sig­nif­i­cance
Rit­u­als may take place the evenings before the hol­i­day
Birth­days cho­sen as date to begin indoc­tri­na­tion into the cult

Open letter to Dr. Phil: “a public mental health menace” (process.org)

updated 10-22-14

Mark Schwartz, accused of malpractice, removed from Castlewood clinic staff

I have been informed that The Examiner.com who published the article below received complaints about someone the author, Mr. Mesner, named in the article below. While the complaints are without merit and Mr. Mesner followed journalistic integrity, I have redacted the name of the person and the organization cited.

If you are outraged by the actions of The Examiner pulling Mr. Mesner’s article, contact David Horan @ dhoran@examiner.com

What continues to occur from people who do not like opinions expressed on this blog and others, is that bogus complaints are levied against us threatening legal action if we do not comply with their demand to take their name(s) off our blogs.

When people write articles and form organizations they do not have a right to threaten legal action when cited properly – yet that is what happened to Mr. Mesner and me.  Authors of blogs, websites, and publications are considered “public figures” and have no right to file complaints when journalists cite their work and quote their words properly – which Mr. Mesner and I do.

There is, of course, no copyright or other infringement nonetheless these complaints pour in. I have to admit the action works and they get what they want even though people like me and Mr. Mesner publish with journalistic integrity and abide by journalist ethics.

It’s You, readers, who suffer. Journalists cannot offer you complete information and you should be outraged.

These actions are pure highjacking of freedom of information. The individual Mr. Mesner named in the article below filed a bogus lawsuit against Mr. Mesner and choose not to show in court. The point only seems to have been to silence Mr. Mesner and cause him financial harm.

Although under duress I redact the article below, I choose to take the easy route even though it impinges on my freedom of speech and your freedom of information. I am working on many projects bigger and more important and tangling with people who file bogus complaints and who encourage silencing of information must take a back-seat so I can keep focused on my work.

Below is the article published by The Examiner.com with the name of said person and the organization they operate – redacted. This action is done under duress until such time as those making bogus complaints and filing bogus lawsuits can be stopped from doing so and held accountable for their deplorable behavior.

Seems those supporting the existence of multiple personalities and Dissociative Identity Disorder hate the truth and do not want the public to know what happens behind closed doors.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Guest re-blog     By:

May 25, 2013    www.Examiner.com

The bizarre nature of the lawsuits created a minor, short-lived sensation among the national press at the times of their filings. The first, dated November 21, 2011 — Lisa Nasseff vs. Castlewood Treatment Center, LLC. — alleged to gross malpractice suffered while undergoing “treatment” at the St. Louis eating disorders clinic. To quote directly from the suit:

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“defendant carelessly and negligently hypnotized plaintiff at a time when she was under the influence of various psychotropic medications and said hypnotic treatment directly caused or contributed to cause the creation, reinforcement, or increase in plaintiff’s mind, of false memories including the following:

a) Plaintiff suffered physical and sexual abuse;
b) Plaintiff suffered multiple rapes;
c) Plaintiff suffered satanic ritual abuse;
d) Plaintiff was caused to believe she was a member of a satanic cult and that she was involved in or perpetrated various criminal and horrific acts of abuse;
e) Plaintiff was caused to believe that she had multiple personalities at one time totaling twenty separate personalities.”

By November 09, 2012, four total lawsuits had been filed, all of a similar nature, all of which are still yet to go to trial. The allegations claim that among the false memories cultivated under the influence of Castlewood’s systematic narcosis “therapy” are disturbed, traumatizing delusions of ritual murder. No doubt, such “memories”, even when recognized as delusions, must exact a severe emotional toll, nor could the intentional cultivation of such delusions be considered anything but malpractice.

(The four lawsuits represent only some patients who now recognize their “memories” of abuse as false. Numerous families — some having started an online support network under the name of Castlewood Victims Unite — claim that they may have forever lost their daughters to false memories of Ritual Abuse that have caused them to withdraw from contact, and reason, entirely.)

But how could such delusions be cultivated in the course of treatment for eating disorders, and for what purpose? According to the allegations, it seems, the theory at Castlewood is (or was) that eating disorders signify outer manifestations of inner repressed traumas of abuse.

“Repressed”, of course, is to say that the patient does not consciously remember the traumatic event(s). Treatments based on these assumptions always seem to rely on bringing these presumed traumas out into conscious scrutiny. This, we are told, is the only way to neutralize them… the only way to end the outer symptoms these hidden traumas are believed to cause.

Is it credible to think that the co-founders of Castlewood, Mark Schwartz and his wife Lori Galperin — both internationally recognized experts in eating disorders, and both implicated in the suits — could have been reckless enough to lead vulnerable and medicated patients to cultivate absurd delusions of satanic cult abuse, or is something else going on?

In fact, wherever the idea of “repressed memories” and multiple personalities rears its ugly, debunked head, unhinged “memories” of imagined abuse are never far behind. Throughout the 80s and 90s, internationally recognized experts in trauma and dissociation (such as Richard Kluft and Colin Ross) promoted a deranged conspiracy theory of satanic cult abuse based upon accounts that had been “recovered” by their clients. Multiple investigations debunked the narrative of these accounts entirely, and it became quite clear what was really going on: an irresponsible and unscientific therapeutic practice was being employed to encourage vulnerable mental health consumers to confabulate memories of abuse — and then, in many cases, further encouraged them to insistently believe them. These confabulations, not-so-remarkably, had an enormously high probability of validating the therapist’s assumptions, regardless of how improbable those assumptions may have been.

In parallel to the satanic ritual abuse scare (now known to sociologists as the “Satanic Panic”) the exact same theories of memory retrieval brought us the mythology of alien abduction. Believing they had developed a check-list of probable symptoms of extraterrestrial contact that had subsequently been concealed from memory, “abductologists” used the same techniques employed by multiple personality specialists to draw forth elaborate narratives involving interplanetary visitors.

Interestingly, some professionals of abductology have found, in their probing explorations of their clients’ concealed “memories”, that the extraterrestrials are here to help us — they occasionally intervene in our affairs, but only on our behalf, and with unconditional benevolence and love. This contrasts heavily with narratives revealing a nefarious plot of oddly anal-centric human vivisection and exploitation. Why the discrepancy? I have personally sought out and interviewed a number of the top names in alien abduction research with this very question. In every instance, the answer has been the same: the other guys are doing the therapy wrong. They are interpreting “screen memories” improperly, or they are interpreting fear of the unknown as malice on the part of the extraterrestrials. Both sides assert that if only the other was to “dig deeper”, they would find the truth.

Incidentally, I attended a lecture, just last month, given by one Richard Schwartz, former member of Castlewood’s clinical staff, and creator of a therapy model, used at the Castlewood treatment center, called Internal Family Systems (IFS). IFS asserts that we all have multiple personalities, called “parts”, and by understanding and reconciling these parts, we may find inner peace. Some parts are destructive (suicidal, self-undermining, irrational, etc.) and it is the therapist’s job to find those parts and understand what distresses them individually.

During a Question & Answer segment of Dr. Schwartz’s presentation, I raised my hand:

Q: I worry about the distinction between getting people to recognize naturally occurring “parts” and being blamed [as a therapist] for causing people to contextualize themselves into parts to the point where you’re blamed for [creating] destructive parts. And I know there’s an eating disorders clinic that was using IFS and has lawsuits against it now. I was wondering if they could have done things differently [in their utilization of IFS therapy], or if that’s just a professional hazard?

Dick Schwartz: You know… that one’s a tough one, because what I’ve done — early in my career what I’ve done… The lawsuit’s around false memories — that whole movement’s come back some. Early in my career I had a client who went through all these cult memories. You know, I was really into it. Did some investigating, checked things out. And then, one session, we found a part that was generating all this to keep my interest because I had seen (some interest in her[?]) I’m very, very careful to never lead people toward any kind of… never presume what’s going to come out as they do their own witnessing. Even in ways — when something scary comes out — something like that — [I] say, well, we can’t really know whether this is true or not, but it is what the part needs to show so we’re going to go with it for now and later you can evaluate it, whether it’s true or not. So, it’s not just IFS, but any therapy that goes deep with people will come upon that phenomenon… and not everybody is careful in… those… realms…

Just as with alien abduction, one can always “dig deeper” in the context of IFS so as to re-narrate the entire tale. How do licensed professionals fall for this rubbish? The lecture I attended was delivered to a full-house of professional, credulous rubes in the mental health profession.

In 2009 I attended a “Ritual Abuse/Mind-Control conference” held annually in Connecticut by an organization known as XXXXXX. The conference is organized by a licensed Mental Health professional, XXXXXX, from XXXXXXXXX. A vendor booth at the conference was selling electromagnetic-beam blocking hats, and one of the speakers casually lectured us about mind-control and “demonic harmonics”, which “involves using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms.” XXXXXX claims to have recovered memories that XXXXXX was a brainwashed assassin for the satanic cult conspiracy within the Illuminati-controlled CIA. Theories of repressed trauma are used to support the notion that if this type of lunacy can be “recalled”, so too must it all be true. (I wrote a report about this conference which XXXXXX has subsequently been attempting to litigate against on grounds of “defamation”, though, interestingly, none of the factual claims in the report are contested in the suit at all.)

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) hosts professional conferences where the debunked diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) (now referred to in the American Psychiatric Association’s [APA] Diagnostic & Statistical Manual [DSM] as Dissociative Identity Disorder) is discussed and elaborated upon. Their last conference found a regular speaker from the annual xxxxx conferences co-delivering a lecture on “Ritual Abuse”, a slightly euphemistic term for the conspiracy theory of satanic cult abuse.

The task force chair of the 4th edition of the DSM, Dr. Allen Frances, has recently admitted to the Wall Street Journal that MPD/DID is “complete bunk”, yet the diagnosis remains in the current 5th edition, rolled-out only last week, of the revised DSM. This refusal to acknowledge the harmful realities regarding some of their imaginary disorders surely played a role in the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) decision, announced early this month, to abandon the DSM altogether, along with a statement recognizing that “patients with mental disorders deserve better.”

Indeed they do. The APA must bear responsibility for enabling the quackery endorsed by the ISSTD, who must bear some responsibility for lending any credibility to the delusional assertions of XXXXXX

…And Richard Schwartz’s IFS must bear some responsibility for the allegations against Castlewood… and Castlewood must bear responsibility for Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin.

New evidence suggests that Castlewood is trying to distance themselves from that responsibility as much as possible. Both Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin were recently removed entirely from the Castlewood staff shortly after depositions were taken regarding the malpractice suits. Whether they were allowed to abruptly resign, or were outright fired is unclear at this time.

If the accusations against Schwartz and his wife prove true, let us hope they never practice again… But let us also understand, the problem is far bigger than the both of them, and it is a long way from being resolved.

More on Castlewood, by journalist Ed Cara, can be read here: http://www.dysgenics.com/author/ed/

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Related topics

  • Castlewood Victims Unite (Facebook)
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • eating disorder treatment
  • false memory
  • repression
  • repressed memories
  • parts therapy
  • IFS
  • Internal Family Systems
  • memory recall
  • false accusations of sexual abuse
  • Multiple Personality Disorder
  • multiple personalities
  • Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • DSM-5
  • International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISST-D)
  • False Memory Syndrome Action Network (Facebook)
 Last edit 04-11-15.

Dissociative Identity Disorder Kills

Originally published under the title: “MPD Kills” when Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). The basic premise of the disorder and treatment, however, have not changed significantly.

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MPD Kills

by Jaye D. Bartha

“Jaye, Betty Ann is dead!” she screamed into my ear through the phone.

“What!” I answered in horror.

“Yeah. She took an overdose.” Kathy frantically gave me blow by blow details as if she were an excited sports commentator. Gasping, she continued, “They saved her but when she returned to the hospital she ran from her wheelchair, sprinted down the hall, collapsed and died right there on the spot. She’s dead! Betty Ann is dead! She was my best friend. What am I going to do?”

Betty Ann was 26. Her death was the second I dealt with while a patient of repressed memory therapy. I buried two more friends, before realizing Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) was a bogus diagnosis, and one more after that. Five friends dead. Each death occurred during treatment for (MPD), now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

It seems to me that patients in treatment for MPD/DID often live in a chronic state of suicidal thinking and that acting out suicidal impulses is a by-product of treatment. While the intense search for memories of abuse is in progress, I observed doctors and hospital staff making provisions for suicidal behavior. They hospitalized patients, increased medication, instituted suicide watches, and in extreme cases implemented physical and/or chemical restraints.

In my experience, suicide is a pervasive problem of treatment for MPD/DID and should be yanked out of the dark corner of treatment closets. This diagnosis is a serious threat to human life and ought to be addressed as such. The medical community supporting the MPD/DID diagnosis often views suicide as the patient’s inability to cope with the horrors of an abusive past when, in fact, it is the treatment itself that is likely the culprit.

Originally published in the FMS Foundation  Newsletter, April/May 1999  Vol. 8  No. 3, ISSN #1069-0484. Copyright (c) 1998  by  the  FMS Foundation

Reprint by permission only.

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DID Kills by Jeanette BArtha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.
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